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The Bird With The Crystal Plumage 4K Review

“The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” is pure Dario Argento.

1970’s “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” revolves around an American novelist named Sam (Tony Musante) who witnesses a woman being stabbed by an unknown assailant (that might be a serial killer) in an art gallery. Sam decides to help police investigator Morosini (Enrico Maria Salerno) as he becomes invested in learning the truth himself. Not only does the assailant begin to toy with Sam and the police via whispering phone calls but Sam and his girlfriend Julia (Suzy Kendall) might become the next targets. Is the assailant a serial killer? Are there more than one killers? Does a painting hold a clue to the truth? What’s the title all about? All is revealed in the end. 

Written and directed by Dario Argento, “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” is a prime example of a giallo film. For those that might not be aware, giallo is essentially a hybrid mystery, noir, thriller, and horror Italian film. Argento has made a career specializing in giallos and made the genre his own via a very specific style. His giallo films tend to be filled with rich colors, a character in black gloves, lush cinematography (by Vittorio Storaro in this instance), memorable scores (Ennio Morricone provides a great one here), violence, knives or blades, intense thrills, and, of course, a mystery killer usually in some sort of raincoat or disguise. You get all of that ‘Bird’ and then some. 

Although clearly inspired by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, ‘Bird’ stands on its own as an intriguing giallo in which the core mystery unfolds more and more until the big ending. I won’t get into spoilers, but this is the type of movie that will have you guessing until the very ending. One can certainly criticize some of the questionable actions or plot conveniences that take place ala the scream at the zoo, the out of the blue assassin and the killer’s motives (the exploration of mental health is a bit exploitive), but if you find yourself getting sucked into the story, you might forgive any shortcomings.

Flaws aside, ‘Bird’ is an engaging giallo that showcases Argento’s unique style all while housing an intense mystery filled with chases, death, cat eating, evil laughs, creepy art, and so much more.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p with Dolby Vision. How does it look? The 4K restoration is from the original negative. The result? This new print maintains the 70’s grit and grain and provides richer colors.

Audio Track: 1.0 Mono English and Italian. How do they sound? Both versions offer up clean Mono tracks.


Extras:
* Double-sided poster
* A booklet with credits, photos, essays by author Howard Hughes, author Jack Seabrook and Italian genre cinema expert Rachael Nisbet.
* 6 lobby cards
* Italian, International and 2017 Texas Frightmare trailers
* Posters, Italian lobby cards, French lobby cards, Spanish lobby cards, German promo materials, and US Publicity still galleries
* Commentary by Italian Giallo expert troy Howarth.
* “Black Gloves And Screaming Mimis”- A new interview with film critic Kat Ellinger who talks about the themes of ‘Plumage’ along with its connection to the giallo genre and the novel “The Screaming Mimi.”
* An archival interview with the late actress Eva Renzi from 2005.
* A 2017 interview with actor Gildo Di Marco.
* A  2017 interview with Dario Argento.
* “The Power Of Perception”- A visual essay by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on perceptions and art in Argento’s films.

July 16, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , ,

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